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Open access

En-chao Liu, Li-fang Niu, Yang Yi, Li-mei Wang, You-wei Ai, Yun Zhao, Hong-xun Wang, and Ting Min

Ethylene response factor (ERF) genes have been characterized in numerous plants, where they are associated with responses to biotic and abiotic stress. Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) is an effective treatment to prevent lotus root browning. However, the possible relationship between ERF transcription factors and lotus root browning under MAP remains unexplored. In this study, the effects of phenol, phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL), polyphenol oxidase (PPO), and peroxidase (POD) enzyme activities; and PPO, PAL, POD, and ERF gene expression on fresh-cut lotus root browning were studied with MAP. The expression pattern of ERF2/5 correlated highly with the degree of browning. It is suggested that NnERF2/5 can be used as an important candidate gene for the regulation of fresh-cut lotus root browning under MAP, and the correlation of each gene should be studied further.

Free access

Xiao-Juan Wei, Jinlin Ma, Kun Wang, Xiao-Jing Liang, Jin-Xuan Lan, Yue-Juan Li, Kai-Xiang Li, and Haiying Liang

Camellia chrysantha flowers are in great market demand as a result of their high ornamental and medicinal values. To induce early flowering in 4-year-old juvenile C. chrysantha seedlings, three levels of paclobutrazol (PBZ) concentration (100, 200, and 300 ppm) were applied to the roots. PBZ is a triazole-type cytochrome P450 inhibitor that was found successful in inducing flowering in juvenile C. chrysantha grafted plants in a prior report. The current study shows that all three PBZ concentrations were equally effective in induction of floral buds, resulting in an average of 20 floral buds per treated plant. In comparison, none of the untreated plants flowered. Although the induced flowers were smaller than the ones from mature trees, PBZ treatment did not affect C. chrysantha flowers’ medical values, because there was no significant change in the content of pharmacologically active compounds (polysaccharide, polyphenols, flavonoids, and saponins). None of the PBZ treatments had a negative effect on the current year’s growth in height and basal diameter, photosynthesis, and levels of water-soluble sugars and nutrients [phosphorus (P), nitrogen (N), potassium (K), and carbon (C)]. It is concluded that PBZ is an effective flowering inducer for juvenile C. chrysantha plants. It was also found that PBZ-treated plants experienced defoliation, and there existed a strong correlation between severity of defoliation and PBZ concentration. This might be attributed by the stress induced by PBZ, as demonstrated by the increased activities of some of the stress-related enzymes [ascorbate peroxidase (APX), catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and peroxidase (POD)], and the level of malondialdehyde (MAD). Considering that severe defoliation can cause stunted or malformed plants and reduce aesthetic value, 100 ppm is the optimal PBZ concentration for flowering induction in C. chrysantha seedlings.

Open access

Hao Kai Yan, ShaoYing Ma, Xu Lu, Cong Cong Zhang, Lei Ma, Kang Li, Yun Chun Wei, Mei Shuang Gong, and Sheng Li

This study aimed to clarify the relationship between grape (Vitis vinifera L.) quality and environmental factors (climate and soil), and to elucidate the theoretical basis and provide technical guidance for the rational planning of the cultivation area and the precise regulation of the cultivation mode in the future. The fruits of three different grape cultivars, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Vidal, as well as soil samples and meteorological data were collected from three wine grape growing areas (Wuwei, Zhangye, and Jiayuguan) in the Hexi Corridor, Northwest China. Principal-component analysis (PCA) and correlation analysis were conducted to understand the relationship of grape quality with weather conditions and soil properties. The results showed that the titratable acid content of grape berries was significantly negatively correlated with average temperature from August to September, average minimum temperatures from August to September, and from April to October, mean annual minimum temperature, growing degree days from August to September, and soil total nitrogen content, and significantly positively correlated with average rainfall from April to October, annual mean rainfall, and soil available potassium content. In addition, the pH of grape juice was significantly negatively correlated with annual mean rainfall and soil available potassium content. However, it was significantly positively correlated with average temperature and average minimum temperature from August to September, average minimum temperature from April to October, growing degree days from August to September, as well as soil total nitrogen content. In addition, the results of PCA showed that the fruit quality scores of ‘Vidal’ in Jiayuguan, ‘Merlot’ in Zhangye, and ‘Pinot Noir’ in Wuwei were the highest, respectively. In conclusion, the contents of titratable acid, pH, and Brix° are greatly affected by climate and soil factors. ‘Vidal’, ‘Merlot’, and ‘Pinot Noir’ were suitable for planting in Jiayuguan, Zhangye, and Wuwei, respectively. Nowadays, few reports focus on the relationship between grape quality and soil and climate conditions. Based on the investigation and analysis of the differences of climate, soil, and grape berries quality in the three production areas of Hexi Corridor, the relationship among climate, soil, and grape quality by using statistical methods was studied, which could provide references for clarifying the reasons why environmental factors affect grape quality and select the suitable area for wine grape cultivation.

Free access

Ting Min, En-chao Liu, Jun Xie, Yang Yi, Li-mei Wang, You-wei Ai, and Hong-xun Wang

Ethylene response factor (ERF) genes have been involved in responses to biotic and abiotic stress, including hypoxia and anaerobic stress. Vacuum packaging (a typical anaerobic stress) is an effective storage method used to delay browning of fresh-cut lotus root (Nelumbo nucifera). In model plants, ERF genes have been identified as responsive to hypoxia. Whether ERF is associated with browning of vacuum-packaged lotus root has not been studied. The effects of vacuum packaging on browning, phenolic content, the enzyme activity of phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL), polyphenol oxidase (PPO), and peroxidase (POD), and PPO, PAL, POD, and ERF genes expression in fresh-cut lotus root were studied. Downregulation of NnPAL1, NnPPOA, and NnPOD2/3 attributable to vacuum packaging coincided with increased related enzyme activities and the degree of browning of fresh-cut lotus root. The expression patterns of NnERF4/5 were consistent with the changes in NnPAL1, NnPPOA, and NnPOD2/3 gene expression. It has been proposed that NnERF4/5 could have be important regulators of fresh-cut lotus root browning, and that the relationships of NnERF4/5 and NnPAL1, NnPPOA, and NnPOD2/3 should to be studied further.

Open access

Hui-juan Zhou, Xia-nan Zhang, Ming-shen Su, Ji-hong Du, Xiong-wei Li, and Zheng-wen Ye

To investigate the influence of ultraviolet-C (UVC) radiation pretreatment on the sugar metabolism of yellow peaches (cv. Beinong2 × 60–24–7) during storage, the concentrations of soluble sugar (sucrose, fructose, glucose, and sorbitol), and related gene expression were determined. During UVC pretreatment, peaches were subjected to a dose of 4 kJ·m−2 when they were placed at 15 cm under a UVC lamp tube for 10 minutes at 25 °C. Then, they remained at 15 ± 2 °C for 10 days. Peaches stored at 15 ± 2 °C immediately after picking were used as the control group (CG). UVC pretreatment reduced the ethylene production rate and resulted in a significant increase in the accumulation of sucrose during days 2 to 8 of the storage period, followed by a lower concentration of fructose and glucose and the upregulation of PpaSS1. The expression levels of PpaSPS2, PpaSS1, and PpaST3 were significantly correlated with fructose concentration, and those of PpaSPS2 and PpaST2 were significantly correlated with glucose concentration. The enzyme activity of sucrose phosphate synthase (SPS) was positively correlated with PpaSPS2, PpaSS2, and PpaST2. The enzyme activities of sucrose synthase (SS), acid invertase (AI), and neutral invertase (NI) were positively correlated with PpaSS1, PpaST1, and Ppani, respectively. Expressions of PpSPS1 and PpSPS2 in UVC-pretreated peaches were upregulated on storage days 8 and 2, and there was a UVC-induced peak in SPS activity on storage days 4 and 8, which resulted in the rapid accumulation of sucrose. UVC pretreatment could upregulate the gene expression of PpaSS1 on day 2, which could improve and maintain the quality of peaches for consumption.

Open access

Pei-Hsuan Lai, Chia-Wei Li, Shih-Han Hung, A-Young Lee, Chun-Yen Chang, and Hsing-Feng Tang

Research has confirmed that there are physical and mental benefits associated with performing horticultural activities, such as being in contact with soil and viewing plants. In addition, due to the rapidly increasing volume of affective neuroscience research, it is now possible to understand emotional processing in the brain through neuroimaging. The present study was conducted to explore subjects’ emotional responses after participating in horticultural activities, with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and the Profile of Mood States used for physiological and psychological measurements, respectively. First, the subjects’ baseline brain activation levels were determined before any engagement in horticultural activities. A week later, the subjects participated in a 5-week horticultural activity. fMRI was used to detect physiological changes during the different stages of the activity—namely, preparation and sowing, fertilizing and weeding, and harvesting. The findings show that the functional connectivity of the brain regions was activated, including the emotional prosody network. Hence, this study provides evidence that gardening can stimulate functional connectivity, activation of positive emotions, and mindfulness in the brain. The findings provide a neuroscientific understanding of the types of horticultural activities that increase positive emotions, meditation, creativity, attention, and relaxation and reduce depression.

Free access

Wei Hu, Ju-Hua Liu, Xiao-Ying Yang, Jian-Bin Zhang, Cai-Hong Jia, Mei-Ying Li, Bi-Yu Xu, and Zhi-Qiang Jin

The banana, a typical climacteric fruit, undergoes a postharvest ripening process followed by a burst in ethylene production that signals the beginning of the climacteric period. Postharvest ripening plays an important role in improving the quality of the fruit as well as limiting its shelf life. To investigate the role of glutamate decarboxylase (GAD) in climacteric ethylene biosynthesis and fruit ripening in postharvest banana, a GAD gene was isolated from banana, designated MuGAD. Coincidently with climacteric ethylene production, MuGAD expression as well as the expression of the genes encoding the Musa 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate synthase (MaACS1) and Musa 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate oxidase (MaACO1) greatly increased during natural ripening and in ethylene-treated banana. Moreover, ethylene biosynthesis, ripening progress, and MuGAD, MaACS1, and MaACO1 expression were enhanced by exogenous ethylene application and inhibited by 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP). Taken together, our results suggested that MuGAD is involved in the fruit ripening process in postharvest banana.

Open access

Qing Shen, Hua Bian, Hai-yan Wei, Li Liao, Zhi-yong Wang, Xiao-yan Luo, Xi-peng Ding, Zhenbang Chen, and Paul Raymer

Seashore paspalum (Paspalum vaginatum) is an important warm-season turfgrass distributed in tropical and coastal areas. It has excellent resistance to abiotic stresses, such as salinity, drought, and low temperature. However, the research on genetic diversity of local P. vaginatum collections from China is limited. In this study, the genetic diversity among 58 P. vaginatum accessions from four different provinces in China and four cultivars were assessed using simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. The results indicated that a total of 45 alleles were detected by 19 polymorphic markers, with a range of 2 to 4 and an average of 2.4 alleles per marker. The genetic similarity coefficients between each pair of the 58 P. vaginatum accessions and four cultivars ranged from 0.51 to 1.00, with an average of 0.77. The range of variation of Shannon diversity index of each SSR marker was 0.047 to 1.075, with an average of 0.486. The polymorphic information content of each SSR marker varies from 0.016 to 0.577, with an average of 0.249. The results of cluster analysis and principal component analysis (PCA) showed that 58 P. vaginatum accessions and four cultivars were divided into four groups. These results provide the theoretical basis for the genetic diversity assessments and molecular marker–assisted breeding of P. vaginatum species.

Open access

Derek W. Barchenger, Sopana Yule, Nakarin Jeeatid, Shih-wen Lin, Yen-wei Wang, Tsung-han Lin, Yuan-li Chan, and Lawrence Kenyon

Chile pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) is an increasingly important vegetable and spice crop. Among the most devastating chile pepper–infecting viruses, especially in tropical and subtropical regions, are members of the whitefly transmitted Begomovirus, which cause pepper yellow leaf curl (PYLC). An effective PYLC management strategy is the development of resistant cultivars. However, genetic recombination, acquisition of extra DNA components, and synergistic interactions among different begomoviruses have resulted in the rapid emergence of new viruses that can infect new hosts, cause new disease symptoms, and overcome host resistance. In this project, 98 Capsicum entries comprising breeding lines, open pollinated varieties, genebank accessions, and wild species were screened for resistance to strains of Pepper yellow leaf curl Thailand virus (PepYLCThV). We used a randomized complete block design with three replications and 10 plants per replication in field net-houses at two locations (Khon Kaen and Kamphaeng Saen, Thailand) using augmented inoculation by viruliferous whiteflies. Scoring was done at ≈60, 90, and 120 days after inoculation using a standardized 6-point scale (1 = no symptoms to 6 = very severe symptoms), and the average of the scores of 10 plants within each replication was used for analysis. Although no entry was immune to the disease, the breeding line 9852-123 was highly resistant. Several accessions and lines were moderately resistant at both locations, although a high level of variability within these entries was observed. Overall, the disease severity at the Khon Kaen location was greater compared with Kamphaeng Saen, highlighting the importance of multilocation testing for disease resistance. The resistant entry identified here can be used to study gene action and to move resistance genes into well-adapted germplasm.

Full access

R. Karina Gallardo, Eric T. Stafne, Lisa Wasko DeVetter, Qi Zhang, Charlie Li, Fumiomi Takeda, Jeffrey Williamson, Wei Qiang Yang, William O. Cline, Randy Beaudry, and Renee Allen

The availability and cost of agricultural labor is constraining the specialty crop industry throughout the United States. Most soft fruits destined for the fresh market are fragile and are usually hand harvested to maintain optimal quality and postharvest longevity. However, because of labor shortages, machine harvest options are being explored out of necessity. A survey on machine harvest of blueberries (Vaccinium sp.) for fresh market was conducted in 2015 and 2016 in seven U.S. states and one Canadian province. Survey respondents totaled 223 blueberry producers of various production sizes and scope. A majority (61%) indicated that their berries were destined for fresh markets with 33% machine harvested for this purpose. Eighty percent said that they thought fruit quality was the limiting factor for machine-harvested blueberries destined for fresh markets. Many producers had used mechanized harvesters, but their experience varied greatly. Just less than half (47%) used mechanical harvesters for fewer than 5 years. Most respondents indicated that labor was a primary concern, as well as competing markets and weather. New technologies that reduce harvesting constraints, such as improvements to harvest machinery and packing lines, were of interest to most respondents. Forty-five percent stated they would be interested in using a modified harvest-aid platform with handheld shaking devices if it is viable (i.e., fruit quality and picking efficiency is maintained and the practice is cost effective). Overall, the survey showed that blueberry producers have great concerns with labor costs and availability and are open to exploring mechanization as a way to mitigate the need for hand-harvest labor.